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Voluntary cognitive screening: characteristics of participants in an Asian setting

Authors Ho V, Zainal NH, Lim L, Ng A, Silva E, Kandiah N

Received 31 August 2014

Accepted for publication 24 October 2014

Published 20 April 2015 Volume 2015:10 Pages 771—780


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Vanda Ho,1,2 Nur Hani Zainal,1 Linda Lim,1 Aloysius Ng,1 Eveline Silva,1 Nagaendran Kandiah1,3

1Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore; 2School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; 3Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore

Background: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia are reaching epidemic proportions in Asia. Lack of awareness and late presentation are major obstacles to early diagnosis and timely intervention. Cognitive screening may be an effective method for early detection of dementia in Asia. The purpose of this work was to study the characteristics of subjects volunteering for cognitive screening in an Asian setting and to determine the prevalence of MCI.
Methods: Retrospective and cross-sectional data from community subjects attending a screening program from 2008 to 2013 were analyzed. Information on demographics, vascular risk factors, subjective symptoms, and cognitive measures were analyzed over the 6-year period.
Results: Over the 6 years from 2008 to 2013, 1,243 community subjects voluntarily turned up for cognitive screening (91.2% were Chinese, 5.23% were Indian, 1.37% were Malay, and 2.25% were Eurasian). The mean age of the participants was 61.3 years and the mean number of years of education was 11.0 years. A total of 71.1% of participants were living in public housing, 59.8% had at least one cardiovascular risk factor, and 56.2% reported subjective cognitive symptoms. Over a period of 6 years, no significant change in demographic or clinical variables was noted. High cholesterol and hypertension were consistently the top two risk factors found in the population screened. In total, 17.2% of the total cohort had MCI. Across the 6 years, the proportion with MCI and depression was relatively constant.
Conclusion: A significant proportion of participants attending voluntary cognitive screening have MCI. Low level of education and presence of vascular risk factors are general predisposing characteristics for MCI, and there are more specific factors pertaining to sex and employment status.

Keywords: early detection, screening, cognitive impairment, dementia, vascular risk factors

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